Go Raiders?

August 14, 2010 at 6:45 am (Uncategorized)

Has it become wrong to be a Raiders fan?  Have they become so taboo that anyone who is a fan of them instantly turns into one of those insane fans with the skulls and the spiked shoulder pads?  I personally like the Raiders, but they have been so bad for so long that everybody seems to have labeled them as a punchline.  True, they haven’t been good for a very long time.  They went to the Super Bowl in 2002, and ever since then, the bottom fell out for that team.  And that can all be attributed to two quarterbacks, Rich Gannon and JaMarcus Russell.

Gannon was an awesome fit to the Raiders’ West Coast Offense, and he went to the Pro Bowl three straight years, winning the Pro Bowl MVP twice.  But in 2003, he injured his shoulder, and in 2004, Derrick Brooks finished his career.  After Gannon, Marques Tuiasosopo, Rick Mirer, Kerry Collins (before his prime), Aaron Brooks (after his prime), Andrew Walter, Josh McCown, and Daunte Culpepper (again, after his prime) all started at quarterback for silver and black.  All-star lineup, huh?

Then in 2007, the Raiders drafted LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell at the #1 overall pick.  He held out on his contract for so long, he missed the first week of the season.  When he finally did play, he was brought in in sort of a preseason kind of way.  He would do two or three series and then get out.  He was finally “ready” and starting in the 2008 season, but not only did he stumbled out of the gate, he basically turned around and ran backwards.  For the next two seasons, JaMarcus gave the Raiders eight wins, 21 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a metric ton of just plain bad plays.

But, those quarterback issues are gone now.  They have a solid starter at quarterback for the first time since Gannon, in Jason Campbell.  He’s coming off of his best season in Washington, and the weapons around him are solid.  Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, and Zach Miller will all be relevant this year, and maybe even Darrius Heyward-Bey will get some better numbers.  He only caught nine passes on 40 targets, but at least part of that had to be JaMarcus’s fault.  He brought that entire offense down.

Plus, the defense is fairly solid in its own right.  I’ve actually met Nnamdi Asoughma, and he is a terrific player.  Easily the best cornerback in the NFL (yeah, that’s right, Darrelle Rivas, I said it).  Richard Seymour is a solid veteran presence who can play at a very high level, and Rolando McClain is my front runner for defensive rookie of the year.

The Oakland Raiders’ motto is “Commitment to Excellence”, but for the last few seasons, that hasn’t been shown.  But this is the best team that the Raiders have fielded for a long time.  I have no trouble seeing the Raiders in the playoffs as a wild card at 10-6.  And I might even be able to put up with some of Al Davis’ paranoid, the-entire-world-in-against-me philosophy.  Some of it, anyway.

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My Chris Johnson Moment

August 12, 2010 at 5:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Anyone who plays fantasy football knows that there is usually one player who is, hands down, the must-have player.  He’s usually the first pick and if you’re lucky enough to get that #1 pick, you essentially have a lock on the best player in the game.  If you have the #2 pick, there is a chance that he might fall to you, if the guy ahead of you over-thinks the decision, but if you’re beyond the third overall pick, there’s almost no chance of getting him.

Almost.

Earlier this year, I was taking part in a 20-player fantasy draft (Some people would ask, “Who would do something like that?”, apparently, me and 19 other people).  I had the sixth overall pick, which meant not only would I not get the best player, Chris Johnson, but I also probably wouldn’t get one of the big four fantasy players, Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, or Ray Rice.  So leading into the draft, I had to decide who I would have to settle on.  “Frank Gore is pretty good.  Andre Johnson will probably be there.  Michael Turner will give me solid numbers.”

So, the draft got started and me and 18 other players, waited with anxiety as we waited for the first overall pick.  And when it came in, me and 18 other players saw “Round 1: Pick 1: QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis”.  Peyton Manning?  We were in a 20 team draft, so quarterbacks would be scarce later in the draft, but Peyton Manning with the first pick?  We were all thinking quietly to ourselves, what was he thinking, but then we moved on to the second pick.

Round 1: Pick 2: RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota

Okay, back to sanity.  Adrian is one of the best players in our game, and he’ll have a ton of touchdowns, but I was curious as to why he didn’t get Chris Johnson.

Round 1: Pick 3: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville

Again, no Chris Johnson, but Jones-Drew is no slouch either, so nobody really questioned this pick.

Round 1: Pick 4: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Cue massive second-guessing. Another quarterback? That’s two out of the first four! But then I realized that now I was guaranteed to get one of the Big Four!  I didn’t have to settle for Gore or Turner or Andre Johnson! I would be able to get Ray Rice, because there was no chance that the guy with the fifth overall pick would pass up Chris Johnson. I mean, he only set the NFL record for scrimmage yards, became the sixth running back to run for over 2,000 yards in a season, and destroyed every Tennessee rushing record in the book.  Who could this guy possibly pick other than Chris Johnson?

Round 1: Pick 5: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans

Oh.  Three quarterbacks in the first five picks.  I am clearly surrounded by people who have never played this game before. But, then it hit me.  Chris Johnson was still on the board.  I almost didn’t want to pick him because I felt like I was taking advantage of the other players for effectively stealing the best player in the draft. But if I did that then I would be no better than the other five players who foolishly passed up this guy. So…

Round 1: Pick 6: RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee

Finally, the big man was off the board.  I’ll bet that the guy with the 7th pick was praying that Chris Johnson would somehow fall to him, but he did walk away with a pretty good consolation prize, Ray Rice, the last of the Big Four.

Oddly enough, not only was my first round pick interesting, but also my final round pick:

Round 25: Pick 486: CB, Chris Johnson, Oakland

For most people, getting Chris Johnson would not only make their draft, but their entire fantasy season. I got two Chris Johnsons, how about that.

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Hello world!

August 12, 2010 at 4:29 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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